We all get bored from time to time. Did you know your dog can suffer from the same affliction?
That’s right, just like us, our dogs can also experience boredom. But how do we know? And what do we do for them if it happens?
We will go over all the signs that your dog may be suffering from boredom and give you tips and tricks on how to cure it. The extra activities and excitement are a fun way to spice up our routines as well, so think of it as a new hobby for you as much as it is for your pupper.
Read on for our favorite boredom busters!
What Is Boredom?
Before we know how to fix it or what to look out for, we need to know what it truly means to “be bored.”
Boredom occurs when joy disappears. For example, you may be doing something you genuinely like, but at some point, it becomes tiresome, and you no longer feel the need or desire to do it. When this happens, we start to feel low.
When we inevitably reach a slump in our time and begin to feel bored, feelings turn to tiredness, unhappiness, or discontentment. If this happens, it’s time to shake things up.
The Difference Between Boredom in Dogs and Humans
As humans, especially with our younger crowds, feelings of boredom are ok. In many instances, being bored will help spark creativity and imagination.
Sometimes, people will take boredom as an opportunity to learn a new skill or start a fruitful volunteer career. However, dogs don’t approach boredom the same way.
Some dogs may find inspiration in dull moments. Others experience anxiety, depression, or sadness when bored.
Let’s talk about dog needs and what your dog needs to fight boredom.
What Are Signs of Boredom in Dogs?
Look out for these classic signs of a bored dog:
One of the pathways pups can take on the Boredom Express is worry and anxiety. And one of the surest signs of worry in our pups is barking a lot. Dogs that are bored and inevitably stressed or anxious might bark at everything and anything.
It will drive you crazy, but imagine what they’re going through internally to be barking non-stop. If you notice that your pup just won’t quit when they get going, you may have a bored dog on your hands.
While it’s not the best use of their time, dogs that are bored find renewed inspiration… in “redecorating.” By this, we mean that they may head out to make more messes than usual.
They are bored, and instead of taking it lying down, they put their energy toward something. Unfortunately, that something is the trash can, the pile of stuffed animals in your kids’ rooms, the blankets in the living room, and so much more.
Virtually any corner of the house isn’t safe from your bored pup. They’re not doing this to fire you up; destructive behavior isn’t retaliation.
Dogs experiencing separation anxiety-induced boredom may chew on everything, including the house. When you leave, and they can’t find enough mental stimulation in your absence, they will begin to stress themselves out. If this happens, they’ll need an outlet for all the built-up tension and excess energy.
Cue the chewing on everything from your shoes to the carpet. Bigger dogs may even jump up on furniture and chew higher-reaching items that you wouldn’t expect. No pet parent wants their new shoes to be DIY chew toys, so doggy enrichment is key.
Some dogs that experience boredom may not exhibit signs of destruction in your home. Instead, they may just sleep. All. The. Time.
If you find your dog is constantly curling up in their bed and sleeping the day away, they may be bored and lacking any desire for exercise. A tired dog just can’t be bothered.
Another sign of a bored dog could be one that runs away as often as the door opens.
They may be lacking enough physical exercise or adequate walking time and thus end up bored. If this happens, they see a chance to explore the world they’re missing out on as soon as that door opens.
What’s the Takeaway?
What does this all mean? A bored dog is a sad dog, a lonely dog, a dog with pent-up energy, and all-around a dog lacking inspiration and a zest for life.
As dog parents, our jobs aren’t always easy, but we need to do something to help our pups enjoy life again.
How To Cure Your Dog’s Boredom
Ok, so we know our dogs need a little more out of their day, but what do we do?
The sky’s the limit with trying new activities and new ways to keep your pup inspired and fulfilled. While these aren’t the end-all to puppy playtime, here are some of our favorites.
If your pup seems to be full of more energy than you (or they) know what to do with, it may be time to add in some more exercise. This could be one or two additional walks per day or an extra game of fetch every day.
Invest in a good leash and harness to ensure that the walks are not only a good source of physical stimulation but also comfortable.
Food puzzles are a great way to add mental stimulation to your dog’s day. Interactive toys offer something new (*cue immediate interest). Mental exercise is just as important as physical.
Puzzle toys and treat-dispensing toys can keep their satisfaction going for a while, or at least until the next mealtine. This nose work-based dog toy offers a challenge that will leave them satisfied and proud of themselves.
The same can be said for dog toys. If you notice your dog’s old toys just aren’t perking their interest anymore, you may just want to invest in some new toys. Anything new will at least get your pup curious, and if they’re curious, they sure aren’t bored. If you need something in a pinch, or in lieu of buying a new item, you could also hide treats around the house.
If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, this is a great way to keep them motivated and stimulated when you’re away. Instead of feelings of loneliness and anxiety when you leave, they’ll be excited about all the treats there are to find.
It doesn’t have to be sledding, but giving your dog a task or a job will help keep their bodies and minds occupied.
Most dog breeds need, or at the very least love, jobs, especially hunting and working breeds, like Border Collies and German Shepherds.
So, naturally, without a specific task to complete daily or weekly, they may lack motivation for other daily activities or start going crazy without more to do. Or worse, they may be destructive.
It doesn’t have to be anything too strenuous either. Even learning new commands or tricks is enough to stimulate their minds and curb any behavioral problems they may have.
Even a game of hide and seek with you and your kids would suffice. Plus, it would be a ton of fun the whole family can get in on.
Your dog may be bored, but their boredom may be from loneliness. If you suspect this, they may just need some friends. As humans, we know that having a good social group keeps us from feeling sad, or at least if we are sad, we can count on our friends to turn that around.
The same can be said for our furry friends. A nice day at the dog park will not only be a lot of running and physical exercise, but this will curb feelings of loneliness. Play dates aren’t just for human kids!
You could also look into a doggy daycare once or twice a week. It will give you time to find a new hobby or get some errands done every week, giving your dog the socialization they crave.
Specialists in Dog Behavior
If you’ve tried most if not all of these items and your dog’s behavior or general disposition still isn’t changing, you may want to seek a specialist.
A behaviorist or professional dog trainer can work on dog training and work to curb behavior problems or dog boredom. Behavioral issues could also be a symptom of something bigger, so a specialist may be able to give you more insight as to what is happening with your pup.
Kick Those Boredom Blues Together
Whatever works for your pup, the end goal is always the same: kick those feelings of boredom your pup is experiencing to the curb.
We are confident that these new activities and ideas for playtime are perfect for getting your dog out of any funk they may be in and stay pawzitive.